Masks and appropriate social distancing, of course, remain a must, but wouldn’t it be nice to indulge in a fabulous cocktail out after months of self-imposed quarantining? And, better yet, to know that with the purchase of this one cocktail you were not only tantalizing your senses but also helping a local nonprofit hit hard by COVID-19?
Chester-based restaurant Grano Arso has accepted Highclere Castle Gin's challenge and created a unique libationary tour de force in its Royale Martini, a cocktail that excites tastebuds and vies for most luxurious in New England. By all accounts, it succeeds.
“To be honest with you, Grano Arso is one of my favorite restaurants,” said Adam von Gootkin, CEO of Essex-based Highclere Castle Spirits. “Highclere Castle represents the best of the best: the highest levels of hospitality, hosting royalty, celebrity, scientists and statesmen throughout history and today.
“When we do a partnership, we’re looking for a restaurant that has the same commitment to quality, service, and ambiance. Grano Arso is a great partner in delivering the Highclere Castle experience across the pond in America.”
The cocktail incorporates a rare vermouth that is served with a sophisticated garnish that could be a dish unto itself and includes 3 dollops of osetra golden caviar as well as a lavender-infused crème fraiche.
"We want this to be a cocktail that exudes luxury,” said Chef Gargano, “and to me, that means golden osetra caviar — so I created the most luxurious bite to pair with a Highclere Castle Gin cocktail — my preferred gin to drink.”
“I’ve had cocktails and food all over the world, but I knew Chef Joel and his team would do something magnificent, I never would have imagined caviar with Highclere Castle Gin as a paring, I was blown away by it,” said von Gootkin. “I heartily recommend it.”
Available from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, a portion of the proceeds of each $99 Royale Martini sold will benefit the Channel 3 Kids Camp, which is celebrating its 110th anniversary in Connecticut. Grano Arso will be matching Highclere Castle Gin's donations.
The non-profit suffered immensely with the COVID-19 summer lockdown as did the thousands of children that rely on its services.
Unfortunately, the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon won't be able to make the trip from the actual Highclere Castle to Grano Arso during the two months of the cocktail’s availability.
“Highclere Castle’s head butler, Louis, is an amazing mixologist,” said von Gootkin, “and he’ll be creating the cocktail for them.”
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